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Self fulfilling Prophecy
RDC IP   1/18/2014 3:16:24 PM
The author is correct, US corporations have done this to themselves.  At some point in the 90's the corporations started outsourcing to the rest of the world.  Older employees were laid off or dumped because of their compensation.  The business schools taught the industry to hire experienced people only.  What this did was removed opportunity to train and develop new experienced workers.  So the US execs dumped and stomped on the older experience.  The middle of the work force found other jobs and of course no one in university would spend thousands on an education where there are no job opportunities.  So now the execs come crying there are no experienced people.  Well guess what, those same execs created this situation.  The older experienced people don't trust the execs after decimating their benefits over the years (can't blame them) and have settled into retirement and don't want to go back.  The middle tier of experience is just not there. The young tier won't get hired cause the execs don't want to pay to train them. On  top of this, those few in the middle tier have been taught not to stay at anyone company for longer than 5 to 7 years so they jump ship to get a big raise because the idiotic execs won't pay them to stay.  The fact is there is no free lunch.  If the execs want experience they need to pay for it and develop it.  However, there is no motivation to stay once you have that experience.  What the execs in the US got was a one time cost saving and the realization that they killed the next generation of experienced engineers.  Guess what executives, if there are no engineers in the US, there is no need for execs in the US, you just killed the next generation of US execs. 

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Re: Engineers need a bit of cognitive psychology!
gearhead63   1/17/2014 12:39:51 PM
I live near Dallas, and have talked with several individuals with engineering degrees. Seems like a LOT of young (20-30's), fresh graduates can't find jobs because of not having experience. A couple of the older ones with years of experience have told me that they (all the EE's they worked with) lost  jobs a couple years ago, some were hired quickly and others still looking. Not many places want or can give these youngsters a chance and some training. It's really sad. I'm 50, and there are many places that don't even want to talk to me because of my age. Even though I may have the experience they're looking for. I don't get it. When I have hired people before, their age didn't come into play, their ability and attitude were the biggest deciding factors.

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Re: Engineers need a bit of cognitive psychology!
SiliconValleyEngineer   1/16/2014 9:37:56 PM
What you are saying is what I saw exactly at major FPGA vendor A in 2011 as an "intern."

There were hardly anyone below age 35 at their Silicon Valley HQ in engineering.

In fact, I had one person in IT department who introduced me to a guy in my age group because as she told me, "This guy wants to have similar age group friends at the company, and can you see him?"

I ended up not really becoming friends with this person, but you will get the idea that the management shutting the door to NCGs in 2001 and outsourcing jobs to Malaysia and Canada had an effect of hollowing out/decimating the 20s to early 30s age group in engineering.

The CEO recently claimed to EE Times that they hired number of NCGs and experienced candidates in 2013, so maybe the demographics has changed somewhat by now, but I wonder what the hiring mix is.

This is one of the reason why I don't really plan to work for a corporation, and I rather economically struggle as a small business owner than wanting to work for these corporations in vain.


Melody Akins
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Ham Radio and STEM engagement
Melody Akins   1/16/2014 9:16:42 PM
Hi :)

Amateur radio is a great hobby for the whole family. It engages folks on many levels, from the rag-chewers to the hardware geeks. Parents can spend a few hours a week with their kids, and in a few years we will have all the engineers we need.



Lance A Jones
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Re: Engineers need a bit of cognitive psychology!
Lance A Jones   1/16/2014 5:29:35 PM
Perhaps targetting was just a poor choice of words. What we posted for was anyone over 5 years of experience. We did not have an upper bound. We just expected that when we posted that we would get different distribution, especially since the systems we were looking for experience for have only been around for a little over 10 years. We ended up hiring someone with over 20 years overall experience, but also experience on the systems we needed requested the experience on.

Having said that there is a certain distribution you need in a company to stay healthy and well rounded. It is not a good distribution when you have either college grads or those of us closer to retirement and little in between. Culturally and for diversity it helps to have a good mix in you work force.

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Engineers need a bit of cognitive psychology!
FlawlessTech   1/16/2014 5:11:46 PM
The first thing that came to my mind is WHY? After all, the author did say "We tried to target an experience level of five to 10 years for some senior positions." but then didn't adequately explain why this level of experience was the target. What's wrong with someone with 20 years? And what is wrong with someone who has 12 years (they fall just outside the target zone)??

The profession of cognitive psychology has told us that we, as humans, hold particular biases in our brains that cause us to make tremendous errors of judgement. This article smacks of erroneous bias.

I would encourage the author and everyone else to self-asses to ascertain what dangerous biases are held that can cause you to take a path to error.

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Re: Think outside the box
cd2012   1/16/2014 12:14:23 PM
What about linear systems theory?  Or, intro to circuits class that taught KVL/KCL, etc.?  Or, the beginning physics classes in E&M?  Or, linear algebra (which Google's PageRank uses extensively)?  I learned lots of great things in college.  I don't understand what's "broken" about engineering education.  Sure, the cost is escalating, but that's not a problem with the material itself.






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good internship programs can help
prabhakar_deosthali   1/16/2014 9:36:48 AM
When I graduated as an Electrical Engineer back in 1974, the word COMPUTER was associated with something like magic , here in India, even among the intellectual community.

But there was a growing demand for software engineers and no formally trained software engineers were available at that time.

The industry in India at that  time absorbed all those engineers and science graduates and sometimes even the non-science graduates  who were keen and having the IQ to get trained in computers and software . The senior people in all those companies and the organizations arranged for the training for all those novices and inducted them into the mainstream of the software industry.

This shows that if the industry is willing and has capable leaders in the middle management ,then it need not depend upon the rightly qualified engineers coming from the universities , but instead it can have the intern programs that will ready the young and willing graduates to become professional engineers .

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Re: Think outside the box
daviddever   1/16/2014 9:19:12 AM
If you've got a good, solid mathematics background (discrete math, numerical analysis and differential / integral / multivariate calculus) and are capable of self-disciplined learning on your own, yes, that's about all you'd need.  Hardly any engineering graduate comes out of school as a fully-formed, practicing engineer; a significant amount of anecdotal and application-specific training is required to be industrially productive.

In the bigger picture, the cost of a good university education has gone up dramatically, as the return on investment has dropped significantly.  There is no reason to be saddling twenty-somethings with the immense amount of student-loan debt as we do in this country.  This does NOT make better engineering graduates, only more desperate ones.

This is NOT to say that I did not gain any benefit whatsoever from my own university education, but I can only imagine what it would have been like to have had access to the online learning and research resources we have available today....

The current U.S. higher educational system is badly broken, and it is no surprise that foreign students and workers succeed where our students fail.  If you possess any desire to save engineering as a professional discipline in this country, it's time for a radical change.  Scrap ABET and the existing university model, and start with a clean slate.

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Re: Think outside the box
cd2012   1/16/2014 8:50:07 AM

Whoa, are you saying that job candidates don't need any formal education that might be gained in engineering schools?

I agree if all you want is people to write javascript or CRUD apps.  Let's face it, though, that's not engineering.

If you want people to design complex products involving semiconductors, RF or analog design as a few examples, enthusiasm and self-learning aren't going to cut it.  These areas require years of study to master starting with basic math.

Now, does the US job market reward those years of training?  Apparently not...


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